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Betty Mason

Bench at the corner of Booth and Johnston Sts

In November 1969, Betty got together with other concerned residents to defend Annandale from the expressways, which were planned to run through the suburb.

A resident action group was formed with Betty as secretary. Jeffrey Miles, a Sydney barrister who would later become Chief Justice of the ACT, anthropologist Nick Peterson and his wife Ros and history student Alan Roberts were the other members.

Objectives for the new association were thrashed out at the Mason’s home. Betty’s husband Hugh saw his role as a “free-wheeling ideas-man” staying aloof from the management committee to ginger it up.

Betty assisted a member with his PhD by examining the certificates of title many hundreds (perhaps thousands) of lots in Annandale and then typed up the thesis.

Green Bans were imposed by the Builder's Labourer's Federation (BLF) to protect the bush and urban areas from destruction for development and expressways including Annandale which had an expressway planned to run through it.

large group of people in a park
Betty Mason is in the brown hat, pink jacket, orange pants and large handbag, front row, second from the left side of the picture. David Lawrence in a green jacket and cap,is on the end of the back row, just behind betty. Photo Marghanita da Cruz

The Association guided popular walks, prepared “A plan for Annandale” and later published the Annandale Amble.

"In 1981 The Annandale Association produced a very valuable Building Register of houses in Annandale that were approved by The National Trust of Australia (NSW)."...more

A patchwork quilt was presented to Betty in recognition of her contribution to the community. Making the quilt was a secret project. Maureen, the “ring leader”, organised her husband to photograph a number of Annandale landmarks. (Description of each square

The photographs were dropped in letterboxes across Annandale. Each of the women, who received a photograph, created a picture patch which Maureen collected and sewed to a green backing fabric. Betty described the quilt as “the creation of a number of local women”.

The quilt was donated to the Leichhardt Council Library Local History Collection.

concrete watering trough on roadside with plants growing in itBetty recalls being on the fringe of parties at the Abbey. She also recalls Council street sweepers with horse drawn carts. The Horses would amble along the familiar route, while the street sweeper filled the cart.

Many years later, Betty campaigned to save a Bills Horse Trough that stood in front of the Annandale North Public School - a Plaque on the trough acknowledges the Annandale Association (and by implication Betty). Betty had a great love for animals and would have liked to be a vet. She campaigned to save a Bills Horse Trough that stood in front of the Annandale North Public School.. more

Betty passed in 2021 shortly after moving from her home at the corner of Annandale St and Rose St in Annandale to a nursing home in Haberfield.

From Left to Right David Springett (AA), Gretchen Gamble (AA), David Lawrence (AA), Graham and Marghanita da Cruz. Photo A Bystander

In December 2022 members of the Annandale Association(AA) and locals gathered at her memorial plaque at the South West corner of Booth and Johnston Street.

The plaque reads "Betty Mason
Betty was a resident in this municipality from 1960-2021, with most of that time in Annandale(1967-2021).
Betty campaigned effectively to save much of the heritage of Annandale and the Leichhardt Municipality as well as improving the area with tree planting and parks.
Betty co-founded the Annandale Association in 1969 when the Witches Houses were under threat, and worked with the National Trust to protect historic buildings in the area"

I dedcated my '60s Annandale to Betty fo helping save Annandale's buildings and community.

Marghanita da Cruz, 7 Dec 2022 Last updated 7 December 2022.